McAdam: No sense in Sox rushing to action over offseason

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McAdam: No sense in Sox rushing to action over offseason

When the Red Sox last August shed more than a quarter of a billion dollars in salary obligations -- thanks to their blockbuster trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers -- they vowed a return to a more "disciplined" approach.

Spending wildly for the top free agents -- like Carl Crawford, one of three stars jettisoned in the deal -- had gotten them nowhere fast, the Red Sox concluded. In the future, they would avoid tying themselves to long, nine-figure salaries and instead focus on their own development system which could foster long-term, sustained success.

Fans, disheartened by the wasted resources and underperforming play of Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and others, nodded in agreement. Yes, they agreed, it was time to get back to basics, to stop looking to the free agent market for a quick fix.

Now, apparently, the honeymoon is over.

In the aftermath of the Toronto Blue Jays' landmark deal with the Florida Marlins two weeks ago, Red Sox fans are getting antsy. The signing of Torii Hunter by the Detroit Tigers generated more angst.

"Why aren't they doing anything?"

It seems not to matter that very few teams are "doing anything." The Texas Rangers, whose quick slide out of first place and subsequent disappearance from the playoffs after one game looked like the Red Sox' 2011 fold at warp speed, are in danger of losing both Mike Napoli and Josh Hamilton and they haven't done anything. Neither have the Los Angeles Angels, who lost two starting pitchers -- Ervin Santana in trade, Dan Haren to free agency. Other than lose Hunter, that is.

It's not even December and already people seem overly anxious about what the Red Sox are going to look like in April.

This has some to call for the Sox to make a bold move, any bold move. One problem: "Don't just stand there -- do something!" doesn't qualify as as a sound business philosophy. Instead, it reeks of panic, and, let's face it, ignorance.

Sure, the Red Sox have the resources to go out and land Hamilton, a fine player who was the A.L. MVP in 2010 and finished in the top seven in voting two other times in the last five years.

But if there were ever a player who personified the risks inherent in granting mega-contracts, it would be Hamilton. Beyond the very obvious red flag of his documented drug and alcohol addictions, Hamilton has had difficulty staying on the field. In six full seasons, he's played more than 133 games twice.

Given his past personal history, how likely is it that Hamilton is going to become more durable as he enters his age-32 season?

Factor in Hamilton's declining defensive skills and his alarmingly escalating strikeout rate, and it's easy to see Hamilton as a disaster in the making in Boston.

Would he goose ticket sales and get people talking about the Red Sox? You bet. And would the Sox begin experiencing buyer's remorse in another two years or so? Good chance.

Even the moves that have been made -- signing David Ross and Jonny Gomes - have been met with derision. Twitter was full of hostile sarcasm ("Get the Duck Boats ready!") in the wake of those two additions.

Ross and Gomes weren't supposed to be franchise-altering acquisitions, carried out to make them World Series favorites. Rather, they were depth moves, designed to give the Red Sox options in the outfield and behind the plate.

For a lesson on how critical these lower-profile signings can be, recall that some of Theo Epstein's best moves in building the 2004 championship team came in 2003, when he signed the likes of Kevin Millar, Bill Mueller, and David Ortiz.

The fact is, it's unlikely the Red Sox are going to make one of those big bold strokes this winter. The two biggest free agent names on this winter's market -- Hamilton and starter Zack Greinke -- each have huge negatives attached and any serious interest shown to either by the Sox would be a sure sign that they have already ditched their vow for discipline.

Nor should the Sox be expected to pull off a giant trade. Having decided (for now) to hold onto Jacoby Ellsbury and unwilling to mortgage their future by selling off their best prospects (Xander Bogaerts, Jackie Bradley Jr., Matt Barnes), the Sox don't have much with which to offer teams.

(That said, as a Red Sox official recently suggested, the deal with the Dodgers, coupled with a 93-loss season may embolden other teams from floating trade proposals that they otherwise wouldn't. Perhaps that explains the talk of Jon Lester for Kansas City Royals' outfielder Wil Myers).

It's only November, remember. And remember, too, that the last time the Red Sox were bold and made big moves was after the 2010 season, when they "won the winter" by signing Crawford and trading for Gonzalez -- two players they couldn't wait to unload less than 20 months later.

Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

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Improved Matt Barnes dealing with much more than mechanics

BOSTON — Matt Barnes has been coping with more than just a few bad outings on the mound, and he’s asking for help.

The Red Sox set-up man made some mechanical corrections that paid off in the eighth inning Monday night, when he struck out all three Twins he faced in a 4-1 Red Sox win at Fenway Park.

“I just simplified the mechanics,” Barnes said afterward. “Two days ago, I was trying to get with more of an up, down, and out approach. I felt better in that outing. I know I gave up a run and walked the one guy, but I felt better around the zone. And then just kind of went into a slide step, doing what Andrew Miller was doing.”

Barnes allowed four runs spanning his previous three outings, retiring just four batters while walking five. But Barnes has had a lot more to worry about than just a brief professional rut. 

He’s been devoted to helping his girlfriend, Chelsea, through the unexpected loss of her father, who was diagnosed with cancer and suffered a stroke

"Her father passed away [May 27]. That’s why I wasn’t in Baltimore for the two days [in early June], I was at his funeral,” Barnes said. "It’s tough, dealing with that, and she’s obviously having a hard time with it. She’s got her good days and her bad days. But it’s not easy. He was sick for a little while, and unexpectedly passed a lot faster than anybody ever expected him to. So, it’s been tough. She’s been alright, considering.”

There are a ton of medical bills still to be paid. A fundraising page has been set up to help the family with some large medical bills, and Barnes has asked on Twitter for people to spread the word if they’re able to.

“I’ve been able to spend a lot of time with her which is nice,” Barnes said of his girlfriend. “Everybody who’s helped out with donations and spreading the page, I couldn’t be more grateful, and she couldn’t be more grateful.”

Barnes is a big leaguer, but he’s still young and making the major league minimum. For every $1,000 total donated, Barnes plans to send a signed baseball to a random donor.

“I felt like it was a nice way, if they’re going to help me out, I can at least do that in return for them,” Barnes said.

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

Sale gets 9 Ks, Moreland hits home run as Red Sox beat Twins, 4-1

BOSTON -- The way Chris Sale and the Boston relievers were pitching, the Red Sox didn't need to score a lot.

Sale went 6 1/3 overpowering innings with nine strikeouts, Mitch Moreland hit a solo homer for the third straight game and the Red Sox beat the Minnesota Twins 4-1 on Monday in a matchup of two of the AL's top teams.

"When you've got him on the mound, all you need is a couple and he's going to do the rest," Moreland said. "Obviously, tonight was another example of that."

Dustin Pedroia had two hits and drove in a run and Moreland added a sacrifice fly for Boston, which kept pace with the New York Yankees atop the East.

The Red Sox started fast, grabbing a 2-0 lead just four batters into the first.

"When the guys score early for you, it's nice," Sale said. "It settles you down a little bit and allows you to throw strikes."

Coming off a three-game sweep in Cleveland that had jumped them over the Indians into first in the Central, the Twins' offense was stymied by Sale and three relievers. The loss coupled with Cleveland's win over Texas moved the Indians back a half-game ahead.

Sale (10-3) gave up one run and four hits, increasing his major-league strikeout total to 155. Craig Kimbrel pitched the ninth for his 21st save after Matt Barnes struck out three in the eighth. Heath Hembree faced one batter, getting a double play.

The 6-foot-6 Sale relied on his usual sharp-breaking slider and fastball in the mid-to-upper 90s to fan eight over the first six innings, getting the initial half dozen with his breaking pitch.

"It's what we've seen many times. He had a nice mix," Twins manager Paul Molitor said. "I think the biggest trouble we had was with that slider, especially down and in to righties."

Jose Berrios (7-2) allowed four runs and eight hits in 6 1/3 innings. Chris Gimenez had a solo homer for Minnesota.

"When you go against a guy like Chris Sale, you try to give 110 percent," Berrios said through a translator.

Boston jumped ahead when Moreland homered into the first row of Green Monster seats after the first run scored on a double-play grounder.

Berrios had given up just two runs in each of his previous four starts, and six of eight since being promoted on May 7.

Gimenez's homer completely left Fenway Park over the Monster.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Twins: Molitor said RHP Phil Hughes, on the 10-day disabled list since late May with biceps tenderness, "felt good" but the pitcher had hoped his velocity would be a bit higher. ... LHP Glen Perkins, on the DL with a shoulder strain, is expected to resume throwing again Tuesday after a setback about a week ago.

Red Sox: DH Hanley Ramirez was out with a sore left knee after getting hit by a pitch Sunday. ... 3B Pablo Sandoval, on the 10-day DL since June 20 with a left inner-ear infection, is slated to start a rehab stint with Triple-A Pawtucket on Tuesday. Manager John Farrell said there's no planned date for his return. ... Moreland fouled a ball that bounced and hit near his right eye.

NICE START, KID

Red Sox 3B Tzu-Wei Lin singled to right in his first major-league at-bat and first career start.

The 23-year-old from Taiwan played third on his country's national teams in 2009 and 2010. He's the second Taiwanese-born player to make Boston's major-league roster. Outfielder Che-Hsuan Lin was the other, in 2012.

RUNNING AROUND

Twins LF Eddie Rosario made three nice running, over-the-shoulder catches.

WELCOME ABOARD

Infielder Jhonny Peralta reported to Triple-A Pawtucket on Monday. Boston signed him to a minor-league deal after he was released by St. Louis earlier this month.

The plan is to alternate him at third and DH with Sandoval.

ROSTER MOVE

The Twins sent RHP Dillon Gee back to Triple-A to make room for Tuesday's starter LHP Hector Santiago.

UP NEXT

Twins: Santiago (4-6, 5.26 ERA) will be activated off the DL Tuesday. He's been sidelined since June 7 with a strained left shoulder.

Red Sox: LHP Drew Pomeranz (6-4, 4.07) looks to snap a three-start winless stretch.